Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Kbird

I'm preparing for my second quarter exams, which takes place this week. Chocolate candies, chocolate showpiece, sugar showpiece and tarts (my fave ♥) will all be covered. If my last round of exams is any indication of what's to come, I will be far too busy to bake anything for Kevin, who celebrates his birthday on Tuesday. So, today seemed like the more reasonable day to make him his most desired dessert.

And the birthday boy's dessert of choice... is none other than... poached pears?!

Wah, wah, waaah...

It's not even close to being one of my favorites, but I'll admit that it does make a lovely fall dessert, especially since Bosc pears are in season. The recipe is simple, yet you can make it versatile by using different spice combinations and various wines or juices. And I suppose it is a refreshing change from the Dole fruit cocktail pears of my youth, which I still enjoy eating, to this day.

Poached Pears
  • 1-1/2 cups red wine (I used Port)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped; reserve pod
  • 4 firm but ripe Bosc pears

Peel and slice pears in half (leaving stems intact), and core out centers.

In a heavy large saucepan, combine all the liquid ingredients with the sugar, cardamon, cinnamon, orange peel, vanilla beans and pod. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to simmer.

Add the pears and return mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer slowly until pears are tender when pierced with knife. Remove from heat and let pears cool in liquid (may prepare 1 day in advance).

Before serving:
Strain the spices, and cook the liquid over medium-high heat until it's reduced to about half. Rewarm pears and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Hello, lover.

Pear-caramel and pistachio-cream filled chocolates made by yours truly.

My last two weeks were spent producing chocolate candies (by hand!). It was one of the messier classes in the program... for those two weeks, doing laundry seemed to be a daily affair.

And although I won't be a chocolatier anytime soon, I did learn some cool methods — chocolate tempering (by hand!), enrobing, hand-dipping and casting chocolate in molds for filled candies.

Hey, and get this — I'm currently in my 10th week of school with just 14 more weeks to go!